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David Denenburg and Jon Deal have had their eyes on the historic Cheek Neal Coffee Building in EaDo for many years, and have been in the process of buying it for three years. Now it's (finally) theirs to redevelop.
2017 Preston LLC, owned by David (pictured), Jon and Todd Johnson purchased the historic 55k SF building from Tour Partners, an affiliate of Augusta Pines golf club. David’s been trying to buy the site for two years; he put it under contract in 2013, but the deal fell apart thanks to a purported lien on the property. Determined to get the building, David filed suit against Tour Partners and the purported lienholder (Jay Cohen), whose company Preston Realty owned the property for several decades. The suit was recently settled out of court, leaving the property open for redevelopment. Wilson Cribbs & Goren’s Brian Kilpatrick and Hughes Ellzey’s Jarrett Ellzey repped David in litigation.
David says that his team has immediately launched work refurbishing the exterior—power washing and welding crews are out there this morning (when David took this photo for us) to bring the building back to its former glory and tells us he's replicating its original awnings and windows to a T. He's working with the historic department to line up tax credits, and is trying to get historic landmark protected status. David hasn't decided yet what they'll do with the interior—he tells us he'd really like to do a state-of-the-art boutique hotel, but they're also considering doing event space or creative offices there. David may not know what the building will be, but he's got a grand opening date in mind already—in 2017, exactly 100 years after the Cheek Neal Coffee Co Building first opened.
Here’s how it looked back then. Cheek Neal Coffee (which became Maxwell House) was an architectural mainstay in Houston for years; it also had an iconic structure at 3900 Harrisburg. David and Jon both have extensive experience in restoring historic buildings. Last year, David purchased Station 3, one of Houston’s original fire stations built in 1905, and converted it into an event space. (He says he adores preserving old buildings and can't stand how many are torn down—2017 Preston is one of the last historic Houston buildings that hasn't been torn down or redeveloped.) His company, Denenburg Construction Group, will handle the revamp at the Cheek Neal Coffee Building. Jon is currently transforming the old Riviana Rice Facility into Silos at Sawyer Yard, an 80k SF mixed-use building with art studios, creative work spaces and 20k SF of retail.